Saturday, 31 October 2009

NaNo Arsenal at the Ready

I am as ready for NaNo as I am ever going to be. Well, there are things I could do, but then that will always be the case. So anyway....getting to the point....interested in finding out what's in my arsenal to kick NaNoWriMo butt?
  1. Outline - My outline is finally complete. It's somewhere between a phase outline and a scene outline. I just came up with it based on all the various methods I had learned over time. It is fairly detailed, and I am hoping that because of it I will have far less plot holes than I usually do. If I find it effective then I will do a detailed post about the method after NaNo is finished.
  2. Finn - you know Finn. :) Shiny new netbook. I expect I will be using that at home as well, so I won't have to keep transferring stuff between computers.
  3. Liquid Story Binder & MS Word & Excel - Excel for word count spreadsheet. My outline is created in MS Word, and I will probably do some writing in it as well, and varify the word count. Liquid Story Binder is the new writing software I have downloaded. I prefer it over y-Writer, because to me y-Writer looks quite dated, where LSB has more modern, customizable appearance, and the screens and everything look more similar to MS Word. But what I like about it most is that you can have many windows open at the same time, and you can organise them as you like - overlaping, side by side etc. For small netbook screen, I find it gives me bigger screen than MS Word.
  4. Coffee - *drool*
  5. Coke - Just in case I need cold caffeine
  6. Food - chocolates, crisps, brownies, and to compensate for all that junk one tiny pot of healthy seeds

AND Most Importantly...

7. A Great Deal of Enthusiasm

So what's in your NaNo Arsenal?

P.S. Three and a Half Hours To Go before NaNoWriMo starts

Kreative Blogger Award

Thanks very much to Matt at Pensive Sarcasm for this Kreative Blogger award. :) I do love blog awards. The Rules: 1. Copy the Kreativ Blogger picture and post it on your page. 2. Thank the person that gave the award to you and link back to their blog. 3. Write 7 things about you that we don't know. 4. Choose 7 other bloggers that you would like to give the award to. 5. Link to the bloggers that you chose. 6. Let your winners know that they have the lovely award!

7 Things You Don't Know About Me:

  1. My favourite colour is Green
  2. For outside coffee, Starbucks is my favourite
  3. And since I talked about coffee, to go with it, I love Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Glazed Munchkins
  4. I love old fashioned British accent. Not pinched-nose-royalty accent, but I suppose more standard accent that you hear on TV from more upscale newsreaders or documentary narrators, or Hugh Grant.
  5. I LOVE STARGATE S.G 1 and ATLANTIS (okay, some you may know this, but not all)
  6. I hate insects. All of them. I don't care if they exist out of my sight, but when they are in my space, or in my house, or in any indoor property that I happen to be in, I hate them.
  7. Contrary to popular trend, I didn't want to be a writer when I was a kid. It never even occured to me as a child to consider being a writer as an occupation.

7 Bloggers that I would like to pass this award to

  1. Jamie at Variety Pages - from posts on writing, her goals, and even samples of her writing, Jamie's blog makes an interesting and fun, and often thoughtful reading. I really enjoy it.
  2. C R Ward at Random Thoughts - C R usually has regular topics on her blog, which include writing, detailed descriptions and good deal of thoughts on particular forms of poetry (often unusual ones that I have never heard of), as well as samples of her writing.
  3. Lady Glamis at Innocent Flower - offers indepth post on all aspects of writing
  4. Shonna at Routine for Writers - Interesting posts about how you can make sure writing is a regular part of your life
  5. Todd Severin at My Writing Life - he offers more practical advice and shares his experience
  6. Erica at Laugh Write Play - I have only been following her blog for a short time, but I do enjoy her entries
  7. Three Amigos at The Literary Lab - If you haven't checked it out, do it now, and you will understand no explanation required.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

NaNoWriMo Write-In

I learned from NaNo official website that my local area has a NaNo write-ins. Writers from Bristol and Bath meet in Bristol on Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings during November. Thursday evenings are no-no for me, because travelling by public transport at night is something I totally avoid. But on Sundays I am thinking about going. From the description, I have to say that the whole thing sounds more social than writing, though quite a few people mentioned that they do manage to up their word count by encouraging each other. Since 1st of November is a Sunday, I have decided to go and check it out. While I would really love to meet local writers and see how I get along with them, spending Sundays socialising and just talking about writing, instead of writing, isn't what I want to do. If I want to push for finishing a first draft in November, I really cannot afford to waste weekends. Still, worth experimenting. When I thought of write-ins in my head, I always head this idea of people sitting around, mostly writing, occassionally chatting. I accept that to a lot of people this would sound incredibly boring. Someone might say that we might as well not bother getting together. But having been to one-day workshops where we have done just that, I have to say that I find that totally exciting and appealing. If I am sitting around writing by myself, I am prone to distractions. But if I am sitting around writing at the same time as other people, I don't get distracted. I am focused. I think it's the fact that everyone else is writing, you don't want to be the only one not doing it, or when they end up writing 5000 words, you don't want to be stuck at 500. Okay, I admit, I am competitive. Not insane in I-have-to-win kind of way, but more in a if-you-can-do-it-so-can-I kind of way. I will let you all know how my experience with Bristol write-in goes. But what about you guys? Especially the old NaNoers. Have you been to NaNo write-ins? How did you find it?

Monday, 26 October 2009

Post Writing Blues

Yes, I am over it. I am still slightly concerned, but I am plodding along. With this particular story, it's been a hell of a journey. First, I wrote a whole first draft with the same characters but DIFFERENT STORY. That was the heroine's story, and the hero had a sub-plot. By the time I finished that draft, I decided the hero had a far more interesting story to tell. So that's where this story was born. What changed? Everything except the characters, and the main idea of the sub plot. That's the funny part, and that's what gives me the confidence that this story is worth writing. Because the hero's beginning and his destination has remained unchanged throughout all this upheavel. The ways of getting to that destination have changed a lot, and in fact that's what I am still attempting to figure out. I think it's a matter of finding the right route. And speaking of changes, initially, my heroine had 4 brothers. Then there were 3. Now she has 1. This came as a result of writing blues, and I decided that because she is close to her family, her brothers were always around (large cast issue), and they are important enough that they won't be just pushed aside. They were therefore major supporting characters. I figured I had far too many major supporting characters for the scope of this book. This isn't an epic fantasy. This is just standard one-book fantasy. So it needs to limit its scope. It needs to focus on the hero's journey alone for the most part. And while I hadn't minded getting rid of several people, I didn't particular like getting rid of one of my favourite characters. The heroine's twin brother. He was a very cool character. But then I found a way to cheat ;) I got rid of him as a brother. But he will appear as a minor character. Granted, he will be quite different than what he was intended to be - quite evil instead of good - but it's not a stretch for his personality. In fact, I think he will be even more fun as an evil dude. I definitely don't have time to do a detailed outline for NaNoWriMo now, but I am just hoping to have a solid enough loose outline that I can feel comfortable with. I did a lot of work on the previous one, but at least at the end of it, I am glad I found out that it wasn't quite the right way before I wrote 80000 words and not after. (I am sick of that happening now) I think initially with this story - like everything I do - I was trying to achieve too much at the same time. That just doesn't work. But one thing at a time is a concept I have a hard time grasping. Still, this story is turning out to be a strict teacher. And now because of all the bloody hard work I have put into it, I am all the more determined to write it to a standard where I would enjoy reading it. And since I have quite high standards of readings, that's a good enough goal for me...for now.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Feeling the Writing Blues

Yesterday, while attempting to work on my outline for NaNo, trying to figure out questions that I don't know the answers to, I felt the outline was rubbish. The story just doesn't seem as powerful as it does in my head. Then the despondency that it's all shit, and it's never going to get better, and even if I spend all the time writing the draft from the rubbish outline, it will still be flat. I am sure you know how it goes ...when one negative thought starts, the whole lot of them follow close behind. I still think the plot isn't good enough, and while a part of me is worried that I would never complete a book that is good enough, a logical part of me notes that I write much better now than the very draft I wrote many years ago. There is an improvement. It's just damned slow. Still hoping that I can make the plot good enough so that it won't ruin my excitement about writing the book for NaNo. I just wish I had picked a better time to get all frantic. Not long left now to change stuff, but let's see how it goes.

Friday, 23 October 2009

My Partner in Crime - Meet Finn

What were you expecting? My writing buddy? Well, in a manner of speaking that's who Finn is. Remember the post about netbooks? I couldn't wait. I had to have one. And so after research and reading your comments, I had three final choices: 1. Acer Aspire One 2. Samsung N140 (Thanks to Jamie) 3. Asus eee pc 1005H Both Samsung and Asus had far better battery life than Acer, and I didn't like the look of Acer as much as the other two, so I decided against Acer. Samsung N140 and Asus were pretty much in tie. Their specs were fairly similar, especially for my need. The final decision at the end was based on the fact that for pretty much the same thing, Samsung was £70 more expensive. So I went with Asus. It arrived yesterday, and because I feel so attached to it, I named it: Finn. Ok, it is weird to name a computer. I accept it. But hey, if you guys couldn't handle weirdness, you wouldn't be writers :P I have never named a computer before, but Finn is different. Glossy black, totally gorgeous, light as a book, and very handy. I started using it in the bus today, and it was incredibly easy to just keep it on my legs and carry on typing, despite all the potholes and mad drivers. I got rid of quite a few things it came with like MS Office Trial. The only thing I have installed are MS Office 2003 (which I already have) and Liquid Story Binder (A post about this later). Also, as mentioned in the earlier post, I have NOT activated Internet. I think that's wise decision. Otherwise there will be far less writing and much more surfing. Now, I am certain that I will win NaNo, because I can't resist using that little thing. And since I don't have a lot of distractions there (except for solitair and all those other basic games computers come with) I don't have much to do except write. Keyboard is very comfortable, and I really like the flat, mac type keys, as oppose to normal 3D keys. The screen, though small, isn't much of an issue with writing. In fact, for use in public places like buses, it is quite handy because it's more private. Ok, a good writer shouldn't depend on gadgets, but hey, if you got one, might as well enjoy it. :D So here are the pictures, all complete with my lovely wallpaper...

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Dealing With A Large Cast

One of the things I have always found challenging is dealing with a large cast of characters. Unfortunately, all my books tend to have a large cast of characters. Even after eliminating several, there are still plenty of people. They are not necessary. Each one is supposed to add something important to the story. Each one is supposed to contribute to the growth of major character(s). The key words here are: supposed to. When I think of the plot, I have some clear scenes in mind where these characters are important. Those are the scenes that go in the outline. The difficulty then is to tie these characters all around the story, and not just have them disappear after the first scene. I always get confused about where to set the scene? If there are several characters, and if they are just sitting around, talking, that would drag the story. And yet, what kind of action scenes can I possibly create with these characters? The importance of these characters often comes from the things they say to the main characters, or the things they do to the main characters, and this is more often emotional rather than physical. So all the more difficult to show with action scenes. Having too many people in one scene is a common problem for me. Unfortunately, I am still figuring out how to fix it, and how to handle a large cast of characters without turning the scene into a circus or a set of a soap opera. How about your cast of characters? Are they small, medium, big? How do you deal with LCS (large cast syndrome)?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Why are you doing NaNoWriMo?

People participate in this grand event for all sorts of reasons. Some do it just because they have nothing better to do, some do it to try something new, some do it to find out if they have 50K words within them, some do it just for the madness of writing anything, and some do it to create a story. For me, 50K of rubbish writing is not a win, because I am not doing it just for the hell of it, I am doing it for a purpose. I have managed to write plenty of trash by myself, I really need to challenge to succeed in that particular area :P. My goal is to have a reasonable first draft that could be polished into a proper, submission worthy book. I suppose the good thing about this event is that you do get to define your own win. After all, you are really only doing this for yourself, not to prove anything to anyone (or if you are doing it to prove something to someone else, then you need to take a look at your thinking). I don't think it's necessary for every writer to expect a same level of success from event such as this, or even same level of ambition. We are all different, and different things work for different people. But I do feel that it may be useful for serious writers to consider why they want to do it. Even if the answer just to have a break where you are simply creative without worrying about a specific goal. I believe knowing why you are doing it, makes it more purposeful as oppose to a random exercise. What do you think?

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Read and Be Inspired

If you don't know who Annie Dillard is, you are missing something that you don't even know you are missing. I had to read "The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" for a class at University. I didn't just enjoy that book, I appreciated the beauty of the language (even before I had decided to be a writer), and I read that non-fiction as if I was reading fiction - hooked. To give you an idea of how amazing it was for me to like that book, I should also point out that I hate insects - all of them - and I am not particularly big on nature details as a subject. You are talking to a city girl through and through. But this was beautiful. This was the kind of language that makes you realise why you love language. This essay from Alexander Chee describes what it was like to have Annie Dillard as a teacher. Here is a little sampler: Talent isn’t enough, she had told us. Writing is work. Anyone can do this, anyone can learn to do this. It’s not rocket science, it’s habits of mind and habits of work. I started with people much more talented than me, she said, and they’re dead or in jail or not writing. The difference between myself and them is that I’m writing. Talent could give you nothing. Without work, talent is only talent, promise, not product. I wanted to learn how to go from being the accident at the beginning to a writer, and I learned that from her.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

It's so easy to get lost in cyberspace

This morning when I woke up, I had every intention of continuing work on my outline. I thought I would just do this on the Internet first - now I can honestly say that I don't even know how, but somehow the next thing I knew, I was looking at PDAs, which then somehow led to Netbooks. Then I thought I would like a Netbook, because you know then I can do actual writing - as oppose to notes - when I am not at home, because laptop isn't exactly commute friendly. I don't even know if I can afford one, but I started looking at what was around and guess what? It's 23:00 and I have just finished the whole day of netbook research. I mean BLOODY HELL, where did the day go?? You know how easy it is to click this link and that, just look up one more thing, and voilá - barely a sentence added to the outline. But research is done, and at least I know that I would definitely like a netbook. I don't know if I will be buying one yet, but it's on my list. And now I can finally get to my outline. It's only 23:00 afterall, still whole night to go. Coffee, double chocolate cookie, and the outline. So for those of you who have a netbook, which one would you recommend (only reasonably priced ones, not very expensive like Sony Vaio)? P.S: - after my behavior today, which is alas not rare, I have decided that when I do buy a netbook, I will NOT activate Internet on it. That will only be for writing, otherwise I will never get off the bloody net.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Slow Steps Towards NaNo

I am still working on my outline. My experience with outlines is fairly new. In fact, before this one, I only completed one full outline, and even that was not totally prior to writing a draft, so I am still figuring out what kind of outlines work best for me. Having written several first drafts without planning, I now firmly believe that planning ahead and outlining properly is the way to go for me. The reason being that gaping holes in the first draft after it's supposedly finished demotivate me a lot, because then I am usually forced to rewrite from scratch. So I am definitely in favour of outlines now. But with this outline, I aim to do better. Usually when there are hard questions in plot somewhere that I don't know the answer to, I leave them and hope that when I write the first draft, things will just sort themselves out. Most of the time they don't, or if they do, by then I have written considerable amount already. So with NaNo outline, I am planning to have all the important questions answered. I know some people worry that outlining in detail might take away the excitement and creativity from the first draft. Personally for me, that is not the case, because an outline is just that - a list of things that will happen. The first draft is when you put the list together, and turn it into a story. The outline does not have all the details of the draft; it doesn't have quirks and habits of characters; it doesn't have a soul. The outline is just a guideline, a map to get you to the destination you want to get to. So I continue to mark my map. What's important to you in your outline?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Changing Characters Names

You think about names, like you are expecting to name your own child. You troll through baby-name websites, look through baby name books, try to come up with weird and wonderful names, and suddenly something clicks. The name fits the character.
Sometimes, the whole character starts with a name. Oh so you are John and that's what you are like. That happens to me a lot.
What the hell do you do then when months later - when you are so used to thinking of John as John - that you realise that if you have John as a hero, you really shouldn't have Jane as your heroine? Or if you have a John, you shouldn't really have a Ron. You know what I mean. Following all those unwritten rules about making character names different.
This has happened to me a few times when either major characters have similar sounding names, or they all start with a same letter. And I always HATE changing them. Because usually by that time, I have come to think of them as people. And people (at least normal people) just don't change their names half-way through their life.
I do change them, because it will be hard enough getting published without giving your agent/publisher a reason to get confused with who is who. But still, it is annoying. And it always takes me a while to find that second perfect name that suits my characters' personality.
The way I deal with it is I decide who are the characters in question. If one of them is a lead and the second one is just some other non-major character, then no contest. The lead keeps his name. But usually (sod's law) I get two major characters with similar names. In that case, I try practicing calling them with different names as I come up with them. And whoever finds another name to suit their personality, gets a new name. Sooner or later, one of them does find a name that they like, so in the end things do work out.
How about you? How attached are you to your characters' names? How do you deal with changing them?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Do you just write your book or your world?

Several comments that you guys made in my last few posts regarding your writing habits, and especially Chris' comment today in this post made me wonder how do you manage to keep all your thoughts together - and I mean the kind of stuff that's not supposed to go in your draft, but comes into your head anyway.
For example, when I am writing a story, there is a lot of note-taking on the side. That's not for the story itself. That's the brain storming. If suddenly it occures to me that my heroine had an accident when she was 5, or that her favourite uncle is Uncle Bob, I write it down. It could be totally irrelevant to what goes in the book, but if I learn that little tid bit about my character, I want to make a note of it.
So for people who don't keep a writing journal or a notes file or whatever, what do you do? Do you just keep all that background information in your head? The act of sitting down and writing 1000 words a day or specific goals like that to move the story ahead, for me, mean actually getting ahead with the book. I don't count the brain-storming time amongst that. In my stories, there are nearly always long stretches of brain storming time required, because I tend to write more fantasy, and therefore I have a lot of world building to do, which is its own challenge.
But even in my "reality" based stories, I end up with piles of notes. Sometimes, I never use them again but they are not wasted, because once I write down something, I remember. I may not always remember where I wrote it, but I always know that oh yes I have thought of this before.
It's amazing how the brain works, and how much I underestimate it, because sometimes I think of something, think it a totally new and fabulous idea, but then I would find old notes from somewhere, written months ago, and I would have noted down exactly the same thing. That's precisely the reason why I am now learning to organise my notes a bit better, and keep same projects in same places, or nearby.
So that makes me wonder about people who say, I just sit down at certain time and write certain words. What about the thought process? Do you just do it in the beginning, and never have to go do it in the course of the writing? Or do you only follow the story, and not worry about anything else?

Saturday, 10 October 2009

NaNo - 10000 words in an Instant

Okay, that was a tricky title. :P I was planning to do 90K words for NaNo this year, because that's how long I was guessing my first draft to be. However, while working on outline, I am getting the vibe that 90K might be too long, so my new goal is 80K because that is more reasonable for the story. By the time I am done with that draft, things might change yet again, but I am aiming for 80K for now. And you know what, after worrying about how I am going to write 90K, 80K seems like - well, not easy - but definitely more possible. How do you decide how long your book is going to be? Is it just a random guess based on genre initially, or is there method to the madness?

When Do You Name Your Book?

Title of a book is very important. While there may be people who will give your story a chance without judging it by the title and cover, there are plenty more people who won't. Sometimes, I am one of those people too. Especially if I don't know anything about the author and I am in a bookshop, then if the title is unappealing then I won't risk wasting my money, but move on to something that seems more promising. Not fair, but that's the way it works. So the title is important. Some people start with a title, others decide it fairly early on in the book, but in my writing history, titles rarely come at the beginning. In couple of books, I've had titles decided fairly early, but usually all WIPs are known either by the main character's name, or by the place where take place. I do try to think about what the title should be, but not really agonize over them because I feel that until the book is good enough to be ready for submission, it's not really worth worrying about. Worrying about the story will probably pay off better in the long run. When do you come up with your titles? How do you find them? Do they come easily to you, or do you have to spend a lot of time finding the right title?

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Writing Journal

It's only since last few months that I have kept a seperate writing journal. As I prepare for NaNo, attempting to focus on only one project, it has become a journal more for that particular book, though I still have a few odd ideas and things written down in there.
This experiment of keeping a writing journal has been quite rewarding. Usually, I tend to scribble notes all over the place. I try to keep a specific notepad for a book, but I always end up writing in all sorts of places, and obviously don't have my notepads at all times. And I seem to accumulate so many notes (because I sort of think by writing) that consolidating them is usually a nightmare. With the writing journal, I have been able to keep everything together that's hand-written. There are still typed random notes in computer, but that's a different problem altogether.
One advantage of writing down the notes, and actually writing by hand is that I remember those things better. That's very handy when you are writing a fantasy novel, and have got a whole world to not only construct but also to remember all the tiny details. Also, my ideas evolve and change over-time, so again it's handy to have dated notes in a journal, because then I can make sure that I am using my latest ideas and decisions.
The writing journal experiment has definitely been a success, so I will continue to keep them. And another lovely thing about it that writing journals tend to take on a personality of their own, an extension of me, and by the time pages are getting full, you can clearly see it as you flip through the pages. So I get to see the workings of my own brain ;)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

NaNo - Dividing up the Big Numbers

Writing 50,000 words in a month - especially coherent 50,000 words - is challenging. Consider on top of that most of us aren't full time writers, it's even bigger challenge. Personally for me, the only writing time is evenings and weekends. Consider that on some evenings, after work, you just haven't got the energy or the will. All that adds up. But there are ways to handle it. While my first and foremost goal for November is doing 50K words, I also have a personal goal of 90K for my NaNo. I imagine my full first draft should be somewhere around 90K, so instead of just aiming for 50K, I am aiming for a full first draft. That's even more challenging, because I honestly don't know if I can do it or not. But I am going to try, and so in preparation, I have prepared a spreadsheet. Ok let me assure you that for those of you who are not spreadsheet slaves (me), you can use even simpler methods. Sorry, I couldn't post the spreadsheet here because the image kept coming very bad. First, I have a column listing dates 1st to 30th. I have columns for 4 different targets. Daily Target - 3000 words Weekly Target - 18000 words NaNo Target - 50000 words Personal Target - 90000 words All these different targets aren't necessary, but I prefer them. Even though I set daily targets, I know that they are the hardest to meet. All my days aren't the same, so my essential focus is on the weekly target. That gives me some flexibility with the days. My week consists of 6 days, so 5 weeks total. The reason for this division is to have a small target each week, as oppose to worrying about 90K at all times. The reason why I have NaNo Target column is so I know that if I keep getting closer to it, but not near to 90K, that's okay. NaNo Target is the "must achieve" target. But at the same time, having a seperate column for Personal Target gives me an incentive to keep pushing for. I also have column for daily word count - and as soon as I put the number in, I will get automatic results for how many words I have done that week, how much of the 50K balance remains, and how much of the 90K balance remains. Of course when you are writing, you don't want to keep wasting time on inputting numbers in a spreadsheet, so if you do create something like that, set up forumals in advance. I have got all of that ready, so all I need to do is put the daily word count in. I find that focusing on small word count at a time is less intimidating and gives you bit more motivation. If you think you've got to write 50K, you might think it seems impossible, and so you may as well give up now. But if you say to yourself, I have got to do 2000 words. Suddenly, it doesn't seem all that big. Like I mentioned before, you don't need a spreadsheet. You can simply use a pen and a paper, and simply write down your daily word count, and add it all up at the end. Or you can just post your word count in a counter, and only keep your progress that way. There are no rules. What you have to think about is how you can make the NaNo seem just that little bit more easier for you to manage.

Monday, 5 October 2009

NaNo 2009

I have signed up for my first NaNo this year. I knew about this before, but only some obscure knowledge that it existed, never bothered to look up the details. But this year I did, and so I am going to participate. I know the story I am going to write, but I really want to have at least loose outline in place, which I don't have. Before I do the outline, I need to answer some important plot questions - which I am still thinking about. Really hope it will be sorted by November, because while I am looking forward to NaNo challenge, really don't want to write 50000 words of crap. I know I know... it's not supposed to be about perfection. I am not seeking perfection. Just a first draft that sort of works. So better get cracking then...meditation perhaps (if I only I could keep my mind quiet for a second) - never mind, I will just have to resort to wild speculation and use up pages of my moleskine doodling brainstorms to figure it out. How is your NaNo prep going?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Things you might not know about Halloween

This month's AW Blog Chain theme is anything to do with autumn (including Halloween), so I am posting some unusual/weird things about Halloween that you may not be aware of. Hope it inspires you with something. Personally, I am off to create a spooky art piece after this.
  • Orange and black are Halloween colours because orange is associated with the autumn harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • To meet a witch, put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night. (If you are successful, do let me know)
  • Ringing a bell scares evil spirits away.
  • Bobbing for apples is believed to be originated from a roman harvest festival that honours Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.
  • The next full moon on Halloween night will be October 31, 2020.
  • The first "Jack-O-Lanterns" were not pumpkins - they were hollowed-out turnips and originated in Ireland.
  • Next to Christmas, Halloween is the most celebrated and commercially successful holiday.
  • If you stare in a mirror on Halloween night, you will see the person you are going to marry.
  • The first recorded ghost story dates back to 100 AD by Pliny the Younger. In the story, a ghost haunts a house in Athens until the owner follows him to a spot in courtyard. The next day, a man's body is dug up in that same spot. Once he is given a proper burial, the ghost no longer returns.

And here is my favourite:

  • In New York City, it is illegal to sell a house that is known to be haunted without telling the potential buyer. (Stuff like this can only happen in NYC. Love it)

Hope you enjoyed these little tid-bids. Next person in the blog chain is Claire Crossdale.

All participants:

1. Lost Wanderer - 2. Claire Crossdale - 3. Angela 785 - 4. Ravencorinncarluk - 5. Angyl78 - 6. shethinkstoomuch - 7. trulyana - 8. Bsolah - 9. freshhell - 10. Ralph Pines - 11. aimeelaine - 12. HigherEdUnderground - 13. Cath - 14. DavidZahir -

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Books Read (July 27 to Dec 31, 2009)

  1. Difficult Daughters - Manju Kapur (27/0709)
  2. The Reader - Bernhard Schlink (29/07/09)
  3. The Time Machine - H. G. Wells (31/07/09)
  4. Plot & Structure - James Scott Bell (01/08/09)
  5. Invisible Man - H. G. Wells (04/08/09)
  6. Tau Zero - Poul Anderson (07/08/09)
  7. NaNo for the New and the Insane (E-book) - Lazette Gifford (09/08/09)
  8. Revisions & Self-Editing - James Scott Bell (12/08/09)
  9. Writing the Breakout Novel - Donald Maass (18/08/09)
  10. The World The World - Norman Lewis (23/08/09)
  11. Sharpe's Regiment - Bernard Cornwell (26/08/09)
  12. Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook - Donald Maass (26/08/09)
  13. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak (01/09/09)
  14. The Time Ships - Stephen Baxter (05/09/09)
  15. Sharpe's Prey - Bernard Cornwell (09/09/09)
  16. Northern Lights (Audio Book) - Philip Pullman (21/09/09)
  17. The Subtle Knife (Audio Book) - Philip Pullman (30/09/09)
  18. The Amber Spyglass (Audio Book) - Philip Pullman (03/10/09)
  19. Lyra's Oxford (Audio Book) - Philip Pullman (03/10/09)
  20. Magician's Nephew (Audio Book) - C. S. Lewis (06/10/09)
  21. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card (08/10/09)
  22. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Audio Book) - C. S. Lewis (13/10/09)
  23. The Hob's Bargain - Patricia Briggs (16/10/09)
  24. The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula Le Guin (29/10/09)
  25. Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke (04/11/09)
  26. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffeneger (08/11/2009)
  27. Nine Princes in Amber - Roger Zelazny (12/11/2009)
  28. The Guns of Avalon - Roger Zelazny (17/11/2009)
  29. Sign of the Unicorn - Roger Zelazny (19/11/2009)
  30. Night - Elie Wiesel (21/11/2009)
  31. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris (28/11/2009)
  32. Dresden Files: Storm Front - Jim Butcher (02/12/2009)
  33. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman (09/12/2009)
  34. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom (09/12/2009)
  35. Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris (13/12/2009)
  36. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling (18/12/2009)
  37. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen (27/12/2009)
  38. How I write - Janet Evanovich (27/12/2009)
  39. Fire in Fiction - Donald Maass (31/12/2009)